Generations ago when creativity had to deal with a scarce and nonuniform medium; when books were the primary source of knowledge and they came in many languages; making inspired connections was the discretionary capability of an educated few. The effort taken to read in the original Latin or Greek or German or Arabic closed out those with the primal curiosity that drives original ideas and makes innovative things.
The way the Internet can lead a reader in many directions through many transcriptions and draw connections between many subjects and disciplines has not yet been experienced by one full generation. A discovery that the Library of Alexandria existed and the removal of the taboo by Rome on ancient manuscripts at the wane of Medieval Europe has now just happened both at once in a time of universal literacy. All that is needed is a general cultivation of an art of reading and the impact of this will empower a super Renaissance, primed.
Shinning light on the unexpected excites a kind of joy of discovery in anyone that dreams of the adventure of exploring. That is done all the time through sensational news feeds. And if it leads into the natural course of using the Internet and ranges deeper into the source of the information and information related to that, that is the way it should work. It's a path well traveled by everyone else led onto it by that same news feed and you're not finding anything groundbreaking or unique to you, but its a beginning. You've added to your knowledge base.
The idea of news feeds is well founded in the number of search topics contained in this extensive description of what Old Saugerties had evolved into after 60 years, in the height of the gilded age.
SAUGERTIES ON THE HUDSON
A Beautiful City in the Shadow of the Catskills - A Charming
Summer Resort - Handsome Houses - Home of Its Manufactures and
Nowhere along the Hudson can there be found a town so picturesque in
situation or so rich in natural advantages as Saugerties, in Ulster
County. In describing it I shall not wade so deeply into its history as to
be tiresome, but shall present a few only of the facts connected with its
progress. Pages could be filled with tales of its early settlement by
Dutch colonists, who were little better then slaves and were cruelly
oppressed by their masters as they toiled there. It is the American
Saugerties, however, of which I write. It owes its organization to Henry
Barclay, whose name yet remains a household word in the
neighborhood. Practically he was the founder of the town, and to his
industry, energy and liberality its rapid progress during many years was
due. The ascendancy which Saugerties has attained over its sister
settlements in manufactures may also justly be ascribed to his genius.
He framed the municipal machinery by which the town is still
governed. The history of Saugerties without an account of his efforts in
its behalf would be worse than a Hamlet with the melancholy Dane left
out of the cast.
Henry Barclay was a grandson of the Rev. Dr. Barclay, who was the
second pastor of Trinity Church, this city. He inherited the benevolence
and ability of his distinguished forebear. For many years he was a
prominent citizen of the metropolis. In the course of a visit to
Saugerties he saw that it was an ideal site for a manufacturing city. His
keen business instinct made him recognize at once the great value of its
magnificent water power then going to waste. He was not long in
determining to build a model city there. How well he succeeded will
He made his home at the junction of the Esopus Creek and the river,
reserving about two hundred acres of land for the purpose. He named
the place "Ury" after his old home in Scotland. This was afterwards
purchased by Blaise Lorillard, who built a stately residence on the site
of the old "Ury" home, and this was afterwards purchased by J. B.
Sheffield, who called it Brightbank. It is now owned by the Sheffield
estate. Mr. Barclay also acquired the water power. To make the most of
this he commenced the great work which yet remains a monument to
his ability and enterprise - the great dam across Esopus Creek and the
cutting through hundreds of yards of solid rock of a canal for the race.
Then a paper mill was built, which afforded employment to a score of
people. The present great new mill is built on its site. The clatter of its
machinery so stimulated the growth of Saugerties that now, after half a
century of industrial success, the town, or city, as it is in fact, has a
EIGHT THOUSAND SOULS.
Although a stone tablet in Trinity Churchyard records the death of
Henry Barclay, his spirit lives on in the men of business who have
carried on his work and continued his ideas and plans in Saugerties, and
the needs of progress sown by him have fructified into many well developed
and prosperous industries, some of which will be described
Nature has adorned Saugerties with scenery of the most beautiful and
grand. Behind it, and throwing their shadows around it, rise the noble
Catskills. At its feet ripples the emerald tide of the Hudson. In a few
years the tourist will hesitate between Saugerties and Catskill, and the
former will secure a full share of the Summer travel. It has scenic
charmes as great or greater than Catskill, and is easier to access. Direct
steamer and railroad connection with New York should have it better
known, as it will be, to the pilgrims who seek strength and rest in the
contemplation of nature's loveliness. Already many of Gotham's
wealthy have erected summer homes for themselves here, and the
indications are that it will soon be a popular resort.
Saugerties might be named the Forest City. Trees with wide-spreading
branches shade the streets and lawns everywhere. Grand oaks at every
turn rustle a welcome to the sun-baked dweller in stone cities. The same
welcome is voiced in hearty fashion by the people who dwell beneath
the trees. They are proud of the town, but have no selfish wish to
confine the enjoyment of its beauties to themselves, and naturally they
are not above considerations of the profits to be made out of the travel
which may come their way. To increase the stream of this travel is a
strong desire for them, and they treat their summer visitors with a
consideration and attention rarely found elsewhere.
Scenery alone, however, cannot make a summer retreat popular. An
Eden to the eye may be malaria stricken, or by reason of careless
inattention to sanitary law a breeder of many diseases. The people of
this town have too much sense to allow it to labor under any such
disabilities. In healthfulness Saugerties is as well endowed as in beauty.
Statistics bear out its people's claim that it is one of the healthiest
places in the State. Nature has made drainage easy there, and as the
people have taken advantage of its facilities in this respect the sanitary
conditions of the town are perfect. Drinking water, clear and pure and
cold, is supplied to the town from mountain springs rising in the
uncontaminated wilderness. No epidemic has ever been known there.
Dr. Livingston, one of New York's best physicians, sends his patients to
Saugerties to regain their strength. Owing to its greater distance from
the sea the climate is less changeable than that of this city and the
temperature is less variable.
Wealthy New Yorkers who have built
PALATIAL SUMMER HOMES
in Saugerties have thus testified in the most practical way their opinion
of its attractions. From these homes they extend hospitality to large
circles of friends, and it was my good fortune to visit a few of these
open-doored mansions. Mrs. Ellen Vanderpoel, whose husband was
once so well known as Judge of the Supreme Court of this State and as
the intimate friend of Martin Van Buren, has a lovely dwelling at
Saugerties and spends at least four months of each year there. People
who do not remember Judge Vanderpoel will recall the beautiful
memorial window made by Morris, of London, and placed in Trinity
Church by his widow. It is one of the glories of the church and is a
masterpiece of the glass-stainer's art. The window pictures prominent
scenes in the life of Christ. The chancel in Trinity Church, of which
Potter was the architect, is also the gift of this generous lady, whose
charities have endeared her to hundreds of the poor and afflicted.
The home of Mrs. E. L. Whiting, on Barclay Heights, is so
picturesquely located and beautifully surrounded that no picture by pen
or brush could do it justice. Its beauty can only be fully appreciated by
those who have seen it. It is built on a bluff overlooking the Hudson on
one side and Esopus Creek on the other. A short distance away the
Catskills loom up grandly. A sweep of lawn leads up to the gray-walled
house, which peeps through the branches of huge oaks surrounding and
shading it with a canopy of green leaves.
Chestnut Lodge is the summer house of John G. Steenken, President of
the Ulster Lead Company, whose works are situated at Glen Erie, two
miles from Saugerties. This is the oldest homestead on this part of the
Hudson, and round it cluster many historic reminiscences. Gen. Dias,
of Mexican war fame, built it over sixty years ago in the likeness of a
Mexican hacienda and lived peacefully within the walls until his death.
Afterwards it passed into the possession of its present owner, who is
naturally very proud of it.
A short distance from the hacienda is the home of John T. Washburn. It
has one of the finest outlooks on the Hudson. From its vuranda the view
stretches up the river for many miles. The accompanying illustrations
render unnecessary descriptions of the handsome residences of
Clovelea, owned by W. R. Sheffield, the President of the village, Stony
Point Villa, the property of George W. Washburn and the home of Col.
H. Dwight Laflin. All are gems in Saugerties's crown. Mr. Washburn is
building a conservatory which will be filled with the exotics of which
he is fond. H. Dwight Laflin is one of the leading men of Saugerties. He
was the man who became famous by firing from the Tremont House in
Chicago the first salute at the nomination of Lincoln. He is the sole
surviving officer of the original Chicago Zouaves, who under the
command of Col. E. E. Ellsworth, killed at Alexandria, were present
when first blood was shed in the civil war. He is also president of the
Laflin Powder Company, whose works are in Laflin, Pa., which is
named after him, and President of the New York and Saugerties
Transportation Company. Col. Laflin, as may be judged from his
success in life, is a wide-awake man, who is alive to every opportunity
to advance the interests of his adopted town of Saugerties.
I cannot begin to give descriptions of all the handsome houses I saw
there. There is a lovely house on every hilltop. Charles A. Spalding, of
St. Louis, has his summer residence here. Richard Washburn has just
completed a palace on one of the highest points of Barclay Heights, and
has moved thither from Jersey City. Howard C. Bogardus, Secretary
and Cashier of the Bigelow Bluestone works, is one of the enterprising
young business men of Saugerties. His villa is within the town, and in
its architecture and furnishings reflect great credit to his taste.
Socially Saugerties is greatly favored. That naturally flows from the
presence of so many people of property. Good churches and schools are
there equally as a matter of course. The business houses are of a
superior sort. There is a well-equipped fire department and the town is
well supplied with gas. Two National banks and a savings bank provide
sufficient facilities for business. The two former are the Saugerties
Bank, whose officers are Hon. W. F. Russell, President; A. Carnright,
Vice-President, and Thomas Kenny, Cashier, and the First National
Bank, officered by Hon. R. A. Snyder, President; C. Fiero, Vice-
President, and P. M. Gillespie, Cashier.
The Irving Club is the social club of the City. Its building is large and
perfectly appointed. There are two first class hotels. The Exchange,
managed by W. F. Cofferd, is airy and comfortable and affords pleasant
quarters for Summer guests. The same might be said for the Phoenix,
owned by Mr. Turck. Upon the
of a city depends its commercial greatness. Upon such a truism it would
be useless to enlarge. The wide-awake citizens of Saugerties, with a
realizing sense of this fact, have established two independent steamboat
lines between New York and their town. They also enjoy a very
satisfactory railway service.
Recently the navigation of the creek and harbor of Saugerties has been
greatly improved by the building of a dike 2,300 feet long on the south
side of the creek and by dredging, so that there is now room for vessels
of from 14 to 15 feet draught. Col. Greenfield, who is in charge of the
harbor improvements in this district, has given very much satisfaction
by his work. A dike about 800 feet long is now being built on the north
side of the creek, and a recommendation to Congress has been made for
an appropriation of $20,000 towards finishing the improvements now
The West Shore Road passes by Saugerties and the New York Central
Railway is connected with it by ferry. Three trains an hour are at the
service of the people to carry them either to Albany or New York. Those
who prefer the trip by water can avail themselves of the New York and
Saugerties Transportation Company's floating palace, the steamer
Astonia, which has recently been refurnished and refitted in most
elegant fashion. The officers of the Company are Col. H. Dwight
Laflin, President, and B. M. Freligh, Secretary and Captain. every
courtesy and accommodation is at the service of passengers on the boat.
Regular trips are made daily from New York to Saugerties and return,
stops being made at all intermediate points of prominence. To the
officers of this Company I am indepted for much courtesy and to Capt.
Freligh for a great part of the information in this article.
Another line with headquarters at this place is the Saugerties and New
York Steamboat Company. This is under the management of R. A.
Snyder, President, and H. L. Finger, Captain. Their boat, the Saugerties,
was built by the Old Dominion Steamship Company at a cost of
$95,000. She is a fast boat, heated by steam and handsomely equipped.
No convenience for passengers has been omitted in furnishing her.
These steamboats land at the dock adjoining the large manufacturing
establishments and each night carry to New York the products of the
mills at but little more than cost of cartage in New York.
The large water power of over three thousand horse-power, owned by J.
B. Sheffield & Son, is developed at the tidewater of the Hudson, and
coal is brought from the Pennsylvania coal fields directly to their mills.
With such advantages as these, combining water power at tidewater
with the best of transportation facilities, Saugerties should become one
of the largest manufacturing ceentres of the State.
Close to the Sheffield mills are the works of the Barclay Sulphite Fibre
Company, of which W. H. Parsons, of New York, is President. They
occupy buildings on the property of the old Ulster Iron Works, so well
known some years ago. The paper mills use a large quantity of the fibre
produced by the Company.
Another institution having a connection with the paper mill of Sheffield
& Son is the Saugerties Blank Book and Envelope Company. W. R.
Sheffield is the manager of this concern, and J. Q. Preble & Co., of
New York, are its selling agents. Its mills employ over one thousand
people, and over a million envelopes are turned out by it every day. The
total output amounts in value to over $125,000 per month, and the payroll
exceeds $5,000 per month.
Martin Cantine & Co. have a card factory here whose business, though
young, is growing rapidly owing to successful management. Loerzel's
Brewery is another enterprise which has had a remarkable growth since
it was located here. Surrounding Saugerties are
which are developing as centres of country trade.
At Malden, two miles away on the river side, are the works of the
Bigelow Blue-Stone Company. These works are the largest of the kind
in the country, and from their quarries is shipped stone to almost every
part of the United States, also a large quantity to Montreal, Canada,
Havana, Cuba, South America and Mexico. They now furnish from
their works stone for flagging, breast-heights for most of the
fortifications in the country, also trimmings for many public and
private buildings. This Company supplies the largest headers for
sidewalks that have ever been furnished. Among the largest is the one in
fromt of the residence of the late William H. Vanderbilt and one still
larger in front of the residence of R. L. Stewart, on Fifth Avenue, which
is 15 x 27 feet. This Company own their own telegraph works in
Malden and Glascoe, also their own transportation company. Among
the latest machins set up at their works are some for planing, sawing
and turning, which are the inventions of their own superintendent and
are used by the Company exclusively. H. T. Caswell is the President
and Treasurer and H. T. Bogardus Secretary and Cashier of the
Col. Caswell lives in Troy, but spends his summers at his beautiful
home near the works. He calls it Obercliffe, and it is one of the best
situated residences on the Hudson.
Glascoe, two miles from Saugerties in another direction, is noted for the
lava brick works of Washburn Brothers. The products of these works,
owing to their superior quality, find markets all over the country. It is of
these bricks and of stone from the Bigelow Company's works that the
handsome residence of W. R. Sheffield is constructed.
At Glen Erie, another near-by village, are the well known works of the
Ulster Lead Company. Mr. J. G. Steenken is President and Mr. Davidson
Manager of this Company.
With such a start on the way of industrial progress, with the enterprise
and shrewdness of its people and with the natural advantages of its
location, Saugerties should soon spring to great prominence as a
manufacturing centre. The day is not far off when Esopus Creek, which
now glides so quietly, though forcefully, between grassy, tree-clad
banks, will be bordered by factories only, and the ripple of its current
will be replaced by the whir of machinery. The natural resources of the
town have only slightly been taken advantage of as yet, and there is
room there for many more wealth-creating mills with plenty of the
cheapest power to drive them, and with every market that New York has
equally accessible to their products. Hitherto Saugerties has suffered
through not being sufficiently known. In part, at any rate, my modest
article should help to remove this disability.
(The New York World, Sunday, July 21, 1889)